What are Drug-Eluting Stents?

Drug-eluting stents are small scaffolds made of wire that are inserted into the narrowed coronary arteries of patients with atherosclerosis. The stent helps to hold the artery open and also releases a drug that prevents any further blockage or obstruction occurring in the artery. The stent placement is carried out in a procedure called coronary angioplasty.

History and approval of drug-eluting stents

Before drug-eluting stents were available, bare metal stents that did not contain any drugs were used to open up arteries. However, several clinical trials showed that drug-eluting stents were superior to bare-metal stents in preventing coronary artery narrowing. They were associated with lower rates of adverse cardiac events such as heart attack and repeat intervention due to re-narrowing or restenosis of the artery.

Before the advent of angioplasty, blocked coronary arteries were treated using a procedure called cardiopulmonary bypass surgery. In 1977, Andreas Grüntzig developed the procedure of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) or balloon angioplasty, which involved a balloon being inflated within the artery to keep it open. Although balloon angioplasty was a relatively safe procedure, restenosis rates were still fairly high and seen in nearly 30% to 40% of patients within the first year after PTCA.

In 1986, the first stent placement was performed by Puel and Sigwart, who developed the bare metal stent. The stents reduced restenosis rates by acting as a scaffold that could keep the artery held open. Although the stents reduced restenosis rates, narrowing did still occur due to the formation of scar tissue in the lining of blood vessels. This led to the development of stents that eluted a drug that could minimise the growth of neointimal tissue.

Sirolimus was one of the first drugs to be used in these stents and the sirolimus-eluting Cypher(R) stent was approved in 2003 by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jul 6, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, July 06). What are Drug-Eluting Stents?. News-Medical. Retrieved on July 18, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Drug-Eluting-Stents.aspx.

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "What are Drug-Eluting Stents?". News-Medical. 18 July 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Drug-Eluting-Stents.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "What are Drug-Eluting Stents?". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Drug-Eluting-Stents.aspx. (accessed July 18, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. What are Drug-Eluting Stents?. News-Medical, viewed 18 July 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Drug-Eluting-Stents.aspx.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
New PREVENT risk equations could reduce statin use by 40%, study finds